Ismailism has survived because it has always been fluid. Rigidity is contrary to our whole way of life and outlook. There have really been no cut and dried rules; even the set of regulations known as the Holy Laws are directions as to method and procedure and not detailed orders about results to be obtained. .
Holy Talika upon the ordainment of the 1986 Constitution
Dec 10, 1986
The President and Members,
His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami
Ismailia Council for Canada,
My Dear President and Members,
On the 13th of December, I will ordain a new Ismaili Constitution which will be known as "The Constitution of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims". The Ismaili constitution will be applicable throughout the world, linking all members of My Jamat wherever they are to the Imamat. Islam is a community of faith and throughout the 1400 years of our history, our Jamat has lived by the rules and practice of our Tariqah as a frontierless brotherhood of men and women. The permanent bond, linking the Murid to the Imam and subsisting irrespective of the geographical location of the individual Murid, has been and will continue to remain the cornerstone of our Jamat's identity.
In our Tariqah, the Imam of the Time has always concerned Himself with the spiritual advancement as well as with the improvement of the quality of life of the Jamat. In this century, in accordance with the needs of the time, My grandfather gave during His imamat, and I have given in the past 30 years, constitutions to the Jamat in different areas of the world.
The ordaining of this constitution has been preceded by detailed examination of the existing separate constitutions of the Jamat, all of which will be superseded, when the Rules and Regulations applicable to the respective countries come into force. I have recognized that in view of the change in the demography of the Jamat, it is necessary to establish new councils and for the same reason to discontinue others. This has been done. In providing the new constitutional structure, I have also taken account of recent significant developments such as the increasingly international dimension of the Jamat's settlement, and especially My aspiration for the Jamat to play an even more active part than in the past in the mainstream of life in the societies in which it lives.
The institutions established during My grandfather's Imamat have changed with the times, as is right, and are increasingly being recognized as significant forces for national and international development. In recent decades, I have Myself established institutions with international dimensions. The Aga Khan Foundation applies its resources to resolving selected key problems of development in the fields of health, education and rural development. The Aga Khan University, a centre for higher learning intends to serve internationally, and to maintain the highest educational standards and to achieve demonstrable excellence. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development fosters and supports economic development in many countries. Finally, The Aga Khan Trust for Culture which should be constituted formally within the coming months will be dedicated to supporting and promoting Islamic Culture.
It is My belief that the Ismaili Constitution will provide a strong institutional and organizational framework through which My Jamat will be able to contribute to the harmonious development of the Ummah and of the societies in which the Jamat lives. All the institutions operating directly under the Ismaili Constitution as well as the four, the Foundation, the Fund, the University and the Trust which exist independently will, I hope, build meaningful linkages so that together they and their respective as well as mutual programmes may have a significant impact on the development of my Jamat in the years to come.
The progress achieved by our institutions to date is due, in a significant measure, to the support they have received from the Jamat's voluntary workers. This voluntary service is one of our most ancient and noble traditions and it is My particular desire that this tradition be cherished, maintained and reinforced. At the same time, I believe that by the very nature of life, there is a continuing need for professionalization and enlightened leadership at all levels in all our activities. To meet this need, it has been My concern over the past many years to ensure that leadership potential within the Jamat be properly identified, fostered and encouraged to come forward to serve. It is My constant and intense wish that the professional talent within the Jamat be harnessed and that the voluntary workers as well as those who are remunerated within our institutions should provide mutual reinforcement and support. It is, therefore, My hope that the Ismaili Constitution will become an enabling document for all My spiritual children for an active role in institution building, for creative application of their abilities, for personal development and for intellectual and spiritual satisfaction.
The Ismaili Constitution recognizes and addresses many of the Jamat's present and future needs, but it is to be expected that some adjustment will need to be made in the practical application of the Constitution to meet local circumstances. These adjustments will be made on a case by case basis, in the Rules and Regulations which will be provided in respect of each country.
It is My desire that the new appointment for the councils and other institutions should be made under the Ismaili Constitution and I have given directives to this effect. Until such time as the new appointments are made, the office bearers under the present constitutions will continue to hold their respective offices.
I am confident that the Ismaili Constitution will give stronger integrated identity to My Jamat worldwide, and that in abiding by it in letter and spirit, the Jamat will achieve greater peace, unity, happiness, security and well-being.
On this most happy occasion, I send My warmest and most affectionate paternal maternal loving blessings to all the beloved spiritual children of My Canada Jamat. You are all particularly in My heart and thoughts and prayers.
Today, this morning early, I met with the members of the Leaders' International Forum, and I signed a new edition of the Constitution for the Jamat which brings it into keeping with our time, for the time of today and the future, and which makes a number of adjustments for new institutions, new programmes, and certain new structures for the Jamats in various areas of the world. And therefore the Constitution of the 11th of July 1998, ordained in Lisbon at the Ismaili Centre, is the Constitution which henceforth is enforced for the Jamat worldwide.
IMPORTANT FARMAN ON THE APPLICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION
"The Imam and leaders of the Jamat have worked for three and a half years on the new Constitution of the Jamat. The Constitution starts on the premise that every Murid, wherever he lives and wherever the Imam is, has a bond with the Imam of the Time. And therefore the Constitution links every Murid to the Imam of the Time. In the same way, the rules and regulations have been designed to take into account national law in various countries, old traditions and habits, new needs. But basically, the new Constitution provides that every Murid has the same relationship to the Imam of the Time in the administration of Jamati matters and that is, I think, a very important step. What I am seeking, therefore, from the leaders of the Jamat in Pakistan and in the Northern Areas, is that you make this new Constitution and the rules and regulations that go with it, your means of leadership, of governance, of direction to the Jamat so that this Constitution, this new Constitution becomes an enabling document. It makes it possible for the Jamat to have new organizations that will address the Jamat's needs and it is your responsibility to make sure that this new Constitution and the bodies under it function in the interest and the benefit of the Jamat. Remember therefore, that not only is it your responsibility to make it function, it is your responsibility to make it serve the Jamat. The Constitution has not been designed as an instrument of uncaring direction. On the contrary, it is an instrument seeking to respond to the needs of the Jamat in a manner which will serve the purpose and the interests of the Jamat. The Constitution has been designed, therefore, to serve. And it is in that spirit that I would wish the leadership of the Jamat to conceive of this document. It is a document aimed at serving the Jamat.
The third objective of the document is to provide the Jamat access to bodies which will serve its needs, Jamat's needs, in specialised areas without the Jamat having to incur unnecessary cost and loss of time. Let Me give you the example of the Arbitration and Conciliation Board. I don't want spiritual children entering into conflictual relationships amongst themselves and then having to go through the law courts with the loss of time, the cost of lawyers. If there are differences of opinion, I think the Jamat has the leadership, has the legal knowledge so that two spiritual children who have a difference of opinion can come to the Arbitration Board and receive fair advice and good judgement and that should be quick and it should be fair and it should be without unnecessary cost.
The Tariqah and Religious Education Board. Its role is to give leadership in Tariqah matters, in educating our young men and our young women in a direction which is given by the Imam of the Time. Remember that the Tariqah and Religious Education Board is in direct connection with the Imam of the Time. So each body under the Constitution has a clearly defined purpose and I would wish you to understand and to share those purposes amongst yourselves and with Me so that those bodies serve the Jamat in the best way possible.
The third point I wish to make to you is that no constitution which is a written document can ever be perfect even if at the time that, and after all in life there is nothing perfect, only Allah is perfect, but apart from the search for perfection, remember that however sincere, however complete the search has been, any document is a document of one time and because society changes, that document, unless it has the capability to change, will one day be out of date with the society of its time. And the third responsibility, therefore, of the leaders of the Jamat is to use the constitutional process to inform ultimately the National Council, and ultimately Me, of areas where the Constitution is not functioning to your satisfaction. I hope that will not be the case, but if it is, I expect the leaders of the Jamat to share with the national leaders and the Imam of the Time your questions and your problems. Because the Jamat, the Murids have an Imam of the Time, and His responsibility is to guide the Jamat according to the needs of the time. Therefore, you should share those needs with the Imam of the Time. You should not feel that, that dialogue is not something which I wish to encourage. On the contrary I am here as the Imam of the Time to share with you the problems of our times and to give you direction in dealing with these problems. Therefore, you should feel perfectly free if you have made a sincere effort to make the constitution work. If you have problems in making it work, bring those problems forward. Let us discuss them and let us share them and let us seek solutions. So that is the third point I wish to make to you.( Gilgit, Pakistan, Nov 21st 1987)
On the occasion of the 80th birthday celebrations Chairman Eboo (LIF) stated:
"Hazar Imam you are very particular and observant , you will have noticed that the colours on the marquee are the colours of the 6 Ismaili centres around the world. The 20 (parts?) represents the 20 councils who are working towards the wellbeing of the Jamat."
The present 1998 constitution mentions 15 councils. Does anyone know about the 5 more councils. Are they part of the constitution?
Ya Ali Madad:
Many counties do not allow ANY external constitution even if being on religious,caste,cult, lines over it citizens and constitution in their own country. However they do recognize all acts/lawa of international organization in which they are signotary (UNO,ICJ,WTO,UNESCO)
For eg.the Canonic laws of Vatican directed/implied/enforced over Roman catholics worldwide ( a sovergien country by definition) is not recognized by Russia and China ,inspite of having million of Christian affiliated to Vatican as Roman Catholics who are citizens of their countries.
You have asked a complex question?
Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:29 am Post subject: Democracy and Ismaili Muslims - Islam
H H The Aga Khan advocates democracy (with Pluralism & ethics), which is based on the Tawil & Talim of the Quran (Allah) - By Imams.
For Ismaili Muslims this is enshrined and ordained by H H The Aga Khan , in the Ismaili constitution supported by Firmans (which are the tawil and Talim by Imams of the Quran which come from the Noor of the Imam of the time***)
Over many decades now, those appointed for the dissemination and implementation of Firmans in the Ismaili community have been controlled by groups, with an overwhelming bureaucracy (and a top down hierarchy of command & control)
Therefore, If, members of the community do not speak and remain silent, then there will be no change because those controlling the community constitutional positions and resources will continue without wanting or being accountable. And they will continue, with impunity with the knowledge that members of the community will not do what Hazar Imam has said and on 11 July 2018, Imam asked them all to “Be His Dais” ( meaning http://ismaili.net/timeline/2018/101-proofs-chatur.pdf)
Bad people (like bullies & dictators), can do bad things because good people stay quiet which allows encourages enables and empowers Bad people, bullies and dictators to do bad things with impunity.
Leaders and volunteers of Ismaili Muslims are appointed to Serve them. To Serve is not power to protect incompetence, nor power to divide and marginalise. But responsibility to serve the needs of the people they serve . ( Advicates Hazar Imam)
Hazar Imam says Leaders and volunteers are there to serve the needs of the community . They have a duty, not to hide incompetence, corruption or abuse power. Sadly this happens. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That, Hazar Imam says is also unhealthy & damages the Jamaat
“I would like My Mukhis and Kamadias to do everything possible to see that up-country institutions coordinate their work properly with the central institutions. "
“expect that the institutions should achieve those reasonable objectives that should be achieved in order that they should serve the Jamat and the people amongst whom the Jamat lives as effectively as possible. And that means careful planning, identifying the needs of the Jamat, performing effectively, being answerable, having results verified and if there are failures correcting the failures, not hiding them, correcting them.
These are the premises on which I hope the Jamat will continue to provide support and service to the institutions because those are to premises on which I believe the institutions should be expected to perform in the future “
. "Always remember whose needs are being fulfilled. Are they yours or are they the persons you are trying to help...and for me the most important word is accountability. We must be accountable at all times to the organisations we serve and to the people we serve."
*** “Imam of the time” means not a constitutional entity but “the Noor of Ali & Allah”. The Noor of Imams is also invoked by Ismaili Muslims in their prayers , as Noor Mawlana, Shah Karim Al Hussieni, Aga, Saheb ul Zaman, Mursheed, Pir, Mushkil Kusha, Sat Gur, Shah, Hazar Imam, Khudavand, Bapa, Yali Bapa, Sat Gur, Mawla, Sami, Ya Shah, Ya Ali, Shahebul Zaman, Dhani Salamat Datar, Awal, Akhir, Zahir, Batin, Noorun Allah Noor. Hahul Kayum, Hai Zinda, & Kayam Paya, Rahman, Rahim, Sahinyah, Hamare Akah, Amir ul Momineen ( and In the Quran there are 99 names of Allah).
But these external links get obsolete after some times.... I never understand why people keep changing the link to article and documents. The AKDN and the IIS do this very frequently. Maybe they do not want people to point to their page.
Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:27 am Post subject: When reading the constitution what you must bear in mind...
When reading and studying the Ismaili Constitution, is critical to bear in mind the following.
1. It was ordained by the Imam, for the governance of and by the community for the primary benefit of the community (It is a Farman)
2. Imam e Zaman and his divine authority is Separate, and is above and beyond the constitution & Governance.
3. Imams guidance is Imsm’s Talim and Tawil of & from Quran. This is given in Farmans& includes the constitution.
4. Imam says the constitution is to be given freely to all Ismailis and read with Farmans. A must for Ismaili Muslims.
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